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A California aerospace startup has unveiled a new lunar rover that the company says will help support the next generation of space exploration: a sustained human presence on the Moon and Mars.
Venturi Astrolab, founded by former engineers from SpaceX, NASA and the Joint Propulsion Laboratory, has officially announced the development of the Flexible Logistics and Exploration, or Flex, rover.
Unlike rovers built for previous and upcoming missions to the Moon, Venturi officials plan to build a fleet of modular vehicles capable of intermodal transport, transitioning from landing vehicle to rover and back again.
Officials said the Flex would be capable of picking up and dropping off payloads for a wide range of space travel applications, including exploration, site preparation, construction and resource utilization. . It also meets NASA requirements as a lunar field vehicle and could serve as an unpressurized rover for a crew of two astronauts.
Venturi said a full-scale Earth prototype recently underwent a five-day field test in the California desert with Chris Hadfield, a retired NASA and Canadian Space Agency astronaut and board member. administration of Venturi.
Company officials said the vehicle would provide the flexibility to transport equipment, cargo, life support systems, and more at the scale and cost needed to meet humanity’s space ambitions. And it could do it from the launch pad straight to the “last mile” – even if the latter is millions of miles away.
Image credit: Astrolab